Bordentown: A Revolutionary City
Written by NJ Historian
An English Quaker, Thomas Farnsworth was the original settler of Bordentown, New Jersey. In 1682 he and his family moved to the area now known as Bordentown from Burlington, New Jersey. After Farnsworth’s family settled, the area became known as “Farnsworth Landing” which became a flourishing trading post along the Delaware River. (The main street of Bordentown today is Farnsworth Avenue.) In 1717, Joseph Borden, from whom the name of the town comes from, settled and purchased the Farnsworth property. Borden created a transportation system consisting of stage coaches and boats that carried people and supplies between New York City and Philadelphia.
Joseph Borden was born May 12, 1687 in Middletown, Monmouth County, NJ. He was very successful at taking advantage of this small town that he claimed. He not only had a stage coach service between Perth Amboy and Philadelphia, but he also had a stage-boat service between Bordentown and Philadelphia.
Bordentown is historically significant because of its contributions to transportation. In 1831 Bordentown became the southern-most terminus of the original section of the Camden and Amboy Railroad, the first railroad chartered in the State of New Jersey. The John Bull, the first steam-powered locomotive, was assembled and tested on sections of track in Bordentown. Once the rail line was completed by the mid-1830s, goods and passengers could be transported between Perth Amboy and Bordentown in a matter of hours rather than a day and a half via stage coach.
In the nineteenth century, Bordentown emerged as a prosperous shipping and manufacturing center. Bordentown was home to an ironworks factory, canned goods factory and shipyard. Its notable residents include Thomas Paine, revolutionary author of Common Sense, The Crisis Papers and The Rights of Man, Francis Hopkinson, a member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother of Napoleon and exiled King of Spain and Naples, and Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.
Bordentown is only one square mile with about 4,000 residents. It is known as “A little City… with a lot of charm!”
Bordentown Podcast (right click and choose "save target/link as" to save to your hard drive)
For More Information:
Bordentown Historical Society